Ruth Wedgwood

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Ruth Wedgwood (née Glushien) is a professor of international law and diplomacy, and director of the international law and organizations program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, in Washington D.C. She writes on international criminal law, international humanitarian law, peacekeeping, post-conflict transitions, United Nations politics, American constitutional law, and American legal history. Wedgwood is a neoconservative and seeks to mould international law to suit the new power balance in the world. She also advocates "humanitarian intervention"[1]

In 2002, Professor Wedgwood was elected as the United States member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international treaty body sitting in New York and Geneva, which is responsible for monitoring state party compliance with the human rights guarantees of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She was re-elected by the UN member states in 2006 to a second term.

Wedgwood previously served as Senior Fellow for International Organizations and Law at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she convened the United Nations Diplomatic Roundtable for members of the U.N. Secretariat, the New York diplomatic community (including Security Council members), non-governmental organizations, and the business and academic communities, on the crises in Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq, control of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear proliferation, and the reform of the U.N. operations. She has also served as co-director of studies at the Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands.

Since 1993, Professor Wedgwood has served on the U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on International Law. In 1998, she was appointed by former Secretary of Defense William Sebastian Cohen to the National Security Study Group of the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security in the 21st Century/(U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century / Hart-Rudman Commission), which reported on the problems of catastrophic terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. She also serves on the Defense Policy Board and the CIA Historical Review Panel.

From 1980-1986, Wedgwood was Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she was chief counsel in cases targeting Bulgarian nuclear espionage, arms smuggling to North Korea and the Soviet Union, violations of the trade embargo against Iran, corruption in federal food programs and the New York City public hospital system, and landlord arson that destroyed low-income housing in New York City. From 1978-80, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice as counsel to the chief of the Criminal Division and headed the Attorney General-FBI joint working group to frame guidelines for the use of informants and undercover operations.

She is a graduate of Harvard University (magna cum laude) and Yale Law School. She served as the executive editor of the Yale Law Journal and was awarded the Peres Prize for the finest legal writing in the journal. She also studied economics at the London School of Economics as a Harvard prize fellow.

Wedgwood is a former law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was a member of the faculty of the Yale Law School as professor of law for over a decade.

She has visited and conducted research on post-conflict reconstruction in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Haiti, East Timor, and Georgia. She edited a symposium on Post-Conflict Reconstruction for the American Journal of International Law, and has conducted training under the auspices of the International Bar Association for Serbian judges, prosecutors and defense counsel for the conduct of national war crimes trials.

Wedgwood has served as an independent expert for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague. Her scholarly essays have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, and the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, among others. She has been a commentator for National Public Radio, BBC, and other public media programs, and writes on foreign policy and international law for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs.

Wedgwood is married to Josiah Wedgwood, an immunologist and pediatrician.


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Phone: 202.663.5618

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Related Sourcewatch


  1. Edward S. Herman refers to her as one of The New Humanitarian Crusaders in Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Morality's Avenging Angels: The New Humanitarian Crusaders", Znet, 30 August 2005.
  2. Former Fellows, USIP, accessed January 8, 2008.
  3. Faculty Advisory Board, The Protection Project, accessed 30 November 2008.
  4. UN Watch: History: Board Members (Accessed: 14 January 2012)

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